New regulations by the United States’ Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is set to allow 700ml bottles of whisky to be imported into the country for the very first time, allowing UK and European bottlers to export to the country for the first time.
The new standards, which amend the existing regulations on Alcohol and Tobacco sales, adds seven new standards of fill for wines and distilled spirits.
A standard of fill, in US law, is the authorised amount of liquid in a container, and when President Jimmy Carter’s administration adopted metric measures in 1980, they settled on a standard size of 750ml for a spirit bottle.
In the UK and Europe, 700mm has been the standard, which has led to issues for manufacturers of Scotch whisky. Along with the considerable tax on whisky and other spirits in both the UK and the USA, bottlers had a decision to make.
Is the cost of making both 700ml for the domestic market, and 750ml for the US export market, worth it to sell in the lucrative American market? Many smaller distilleries either could not or chose not to create the new bottles and did not export to the US.
The only country in the world which still sues 750ml as the standard spirit size is South Africa after this amendment takes effect.
The initial plan from the TTB was to eliminate specific bottle sizes entirely and only set minimum and maximum sizes. However, industry backlash led to seven new sizes being adopted into the existing standards of fill.
These new measures, which consist of 700ml, 720ml, 900ml and 1.8l for spirits and 200ml, 250ml, and 355ml sizes for wine, will allow for easier exporting between the US and most other countries, which either do not use standards of fill or have adopted 700ml as the standard measurement.